Monday, 20 August 2012

West Briton Column 23 August 2012

When someone approaches me with an offer of something free, I am skeptical and look for the catch. I expect you are the same. However, when there is a genuine offer of help that could do some good without any catches it is often very difficult for those making the offer to reach those that would benefit most.

This is why I organized and hosted “How to Save Money Heating Your Home” on Lemon Quay in Truro last week. I am very grateful to all the exhibitors that came along,  including the Cornwall Rural Community Council, Age UK Cornwall, Community Energy Plus, the Cornwall Volunteer Centre and Green Deal providers British Gas, Enact Energy and the Mark Group. It was great to also see representatives of NHS Cornwall, Cornwall Council and Devon and Cornwall Jobcentre Plus exhibiting alongside private and voluntary sector colleagues.

Many visitors to the event commented how useful it was to obtain so much helpful information in one place. For those that missed the event, I have produced a free booklet that provides you with all the information you need to save money this winter – including genuine free offers of help and benefits. These are tough times and I hope that anyone who is worried about their bills or has a friend, workmate or family member who could do with some advice and help, will contact my office and we will send a free guide in the post. You are always welcome to pop by my office at 18, Lemon Street in Truro to collect one.

More than ever it is important that all parts of society, from businesses to our valued public services to the not for profit and charitable organizations, work together to help those that need it and make the resources that we do have work harder.

I am pleased to see so many people signing up for Cornwall Together, the energy buying cooperative. As regular readers will know I have been championing buyer groups especially for heating oil so the best possible price can be negotiated with suppliers. Now is a good time to be buying heating oil ahead of the cold weather when prices spike and I am frustrated that despite my calls for the winter fuel payment to be paid early to people who live off mains gas, this is yet to be agreed upon. The savings would make a real difference. Right now heating oil is 7p a litre cheaper than in the winter months. I am keeping up the campaign and during my first week back in Parliament will be supporting a colleague who has been lucky enough to secure a Private Members Bill that would enable this to happen.

Finally, I urge anyone of any age who is interested in the future of Truro and Kenwyn parish to go along to the Neighborhood Planning display that is coming to a location near you over the next few weeks. Alternatively let us have your views by contacting the team through the website

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